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Bomb threats cancel drag event at Brewmaster's Taproom

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Photo courtesy of Kara Sutra
Photo courtesy of Kara Sutra

Content warning: This article contains mention of anti-LGBTQ+ terrorism.

The Brewmaster's Taproom, a craft beer emporium in Renton, was the recent target of a bomb threat due to a monthly, all-ages drag queen story hour at the venue.

Photo by Will Foster  

According to the owner, Marley Rall, who spoke to the SGN, this month's story hour was originally set to take place on August 12. On that day, both Rall and her husband were met with a knock by law enforcement on their front door several hours prior to the event. The police informed the couple that someone had emailed the US Attorney's Office, which was then forwarded to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which then contacted Renton police. The email stated that the person behind the threat would bomb the taproom as well as Rall's home if the event took place.

Due to the threats on Rall's home and livelihood, law enforcement recommended she evacuate her home and business. The Port of Seattle brought in bomb-sensing dogs and robots to the Brewmaster's Taproom to assess the threat. It and several nearby businesses were closed for several hours while the bomb squad worked diligently. Those businesses lost out on much-needed Saturday afternoon revenue due to the threats.

Rall said that after this whole experience, she feels "left in the dark, with no sense of protection, leads, or further information on the matter." She has "been trying not to think about the threats and doesn't want to live her life in fear." Rall stated that she wants everyone in the community to feel safe and comfortable at her establishment.

When asked what she would say to the people behind this threat, Rall said, "I'm sorry you're so hurt. You are welcome to come and see what's really going on. Check out drag queen story hour instead of making assumptions."

An interview with drag queen Kara Sutra
Kara Sutra, drag queen extraordinaire, was hired to host this month's story hour. When asked by the SGN who was behind the bomb threats, Kara said, "The threat was made anonymously over email. The person has not been identified as far as I'm aware. The threat contained language that references making America great again."

She also discussed how this setback impacted her financially."The cancelation not only impacted my weekly income but caused several local businesses to be closed and evacuated for hours, resulting in loss of income for everyone."

Kara offered a theory as to why conservatives are so afraid of drag. She said, "I think fear always comes from a lack of understanding and exposure. As a queen who has hosted drag shows and performed in locations like Orting and Sequim, areas that are often seen as more conservative, I've had some of the greatest experiences bringing drag to those places and interacting in those spaces."

As for why conservatives automatically equate drag with adult entertainment, Kara said, "There is a lot of misinformation out there. If people are seeing drag as anything other than performance art, they are mistaken. Drag can be formatted for different audiences. Some shows take place in 21-and-over venues and are formatted for adult audiences, while other performances, like storytimes, take place at all-ages venues and are family friendly. I think when queens are equated with adult-only entertainment, it's solely for the purpose of misleading others."

Asked if there was a message that she wanted to share with the SGN aimed at the people behind the recent bomb threats, Kara said, "The LGBTQIA+ community will continue to hold our heads high and produce events to bring the community together. Diversity and inclusivity are important tenets of the stories we read. We are resilient and will not be intimidated by hate. We have so much love to give."

The taproom and Kara Sutra have have canceled the August 26 story hour; the next one will be on September 9. You can find the Brewmaster's Taproom at 2000 Benson Rd. S. in Renton.